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Annapolis public works chief ousted after criticizing project

The Baltimore Sun

Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer yesterday notified the city's acting director of public works that his contract would not be renewed, three days after he harshly criticized one of her pet projects, though she denies there is a connection.

It is the third time that John E. C. Patmore, who has worked for city government since 1980, has been let go by an Annapolis mayor.

He will remain on the job until July 1.

Moyer said her decision not to renew Patmore's contract was unrelated to his stance on the triathlon and noted the need to take the department in a more tech-savvy direction.

"His institutional memory and knowledge is a real value, but now it's time for us to move on," she said. "I hope he'll continue to work with the city on a variety of things."

At a four-hour public hearing Monday night, Patmore likened the plan to have 1,500 athletes compete downtown at a Sept. 9 event to putting "10 pounds of potatoes in a 2-pound sack."

And Patmore did not stop there in criticizing the proposal to lease the City Dock area for $1 to the event's sponsors.

"This ain't no charity. Who is going to reimburse the city?" he said, noting the extra overtime costs for his department.

His assessments brought applause from the audience and apparently consternation from Moyer, who had not been briefed about Patmore's concerns.

Patmore declined to comment further, saying only, "She has opted not to renew my contract, and that's her option."

City Administrator Bob Agee will step in to lead the department next month. A permanent replacement is to be named in the next 30 days.

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